ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is welcoming a familiar face back to the county, but this time in a bigger role: as its Director of Student Services.
“It just felt right,” new Director of Student Services Dr. Jesse Turner said.
He will officially begin his new role with ACPS on July 1. He’s had previous stints as the principal of two Albemarle County High Schools.
“Tasks that I will have to fulfil in this role, I’ve done on a lower scale, as a principal, especially a high school principal,” he explained.
On the top of his agenda: working on the county’s school security coaches, which will replace school resource officers, while laying the groundwork for expanded mental health efforts.
“I think that they’re going to be pivotal in what we want to try to do, because they’re going to really serve as ambassadors at the school level for some of the mental health work,” Turner added.
The county’s anti-racism program is also something Turner looks forward to working on.
“I want people to take is seriously and the county is doing a lot to try to address diversity and embracing diversity and that policy is part of that process,” he said.
Burley Middle School Principal Kasaundra Blount says one of Turner’s specialties is forming relationships with students and staff.
“Once you build that relationship, everything else will fall into place,” she said. “The position that Dr. Turner is coming to now as Director of Student Services, when it comes to supporting students, is all about relationships.”
She is looking forward to working with Turner on finding ways to be proactive in schools, and keeping people in the classroom as much as possible.
“Just continuing to seek alternatives so that we can keep our students in school and class as much as possible with them still being accountable for what they’re doing,” Blount said.
“If children don’t feel safe and trusted and have a relationship with the adults around them then it makes them unsafe, at times it makes them feel unsafe,” Turner said